Pelle rises to the occasion

Pelle rises to the occasion
Italy's Graziano Pelle (centre) fights for the ball with Scotland's Russell Martin.

Rome - Striker Graziano Pelle broke the deadlock 12 minutes into the second half with a curling finish

By Reuters

Published: Mon 30 May 2016, 4:31 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 May 2016, 12:52 AM

Italy will have taken some positives from a 1-0 win over Scotland in a European Championship warm-up friendly at Malta's Ta' Qali national stadium on Sunday.
Striker Graziano Pelle broke the deadlock 12 minutes into the second half with a curling finish inside David Marshall's left-hand post after a fine through ball into the penalty area from Daniele De Rossi.
Scotland, who failed to qualify for next month's Euros, hardly troubled an all-Juventus back three and did not win a corner until the 70th minute.
However, eight minutes later Matt Ritchie hit the diving Gianluigi Buffon's side netting after a mistake in Italy's defence by substitute Federico Bernardeschi. Euro 2016 in France begins on June 10 with Antonio Conte's Italy team opening their Group E campaign against second-ranked Belgium in Lyon on June 13 before they face Sweden and Ireland.
"Are we going to find some brilliance for our debut against Belgium? I'm not a magician," Conte said after a solid if uninspiring performance. De Rossi, who played until the 67th minute after returning from an Achilles injury, looked sharp in exploiting the space in the Scotland defence as Conte seeks his best midfield options after losing Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio to injury.
"You're saying De Rossi responded well?" Conte told Rai Sport. "Let's see if I to think so too," he said enigmatically as he ponders his choices for the tournament with the deadline for his definitive 23-man squad looming on Tuesday.
Italy should have won more comfortably but midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini missed three chances in the first half, Marshall making a double save to keep out the first.
Antonio Candreva's seventh-minute free kick beat the Scotland wall but Marshall went down sharply to block the shot. Giaccherini followed up but the keeper parried his effort too.
The midfielder was guilty of poor finishing in the 23rd when he blasted Candreva's cross way over the bar.
Giaccherini was then just wide of the far post five minutes later with an effort from De Rossi's lob over the defence. 

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